Thoughts on special diets

Samples of potato-free vegetable and chicken stock

A selection of potato-free vegetable and chicken stock

Special diets are an important issue for me because my husband has high blood pressure and has a potato allergy. Yep! Unlucky for me because I just LOVE potatoes! Also, a couple of our friends are yeast intolerant, one has high cholesterol and one family member is vegetarian.  So, I am aware of how important special diets are and that’s one of the reasons why I make packed lunches for work and probably why I am not that keen on restaurants, as I don’t feel in control of what is being consumed. Witnessing someone dear having an anaphylactic shock in a restaurant is certainly not a pleasant experience.

Potato allergy – Many years ago, I purchased a packed of grated mozzarella at the supermarket to use as topping for a pizza. So, I made some nice dough and tomato sauce, made the pizza, sprinkled the mozzarella on top. I could not have been more in control of which ingredients I was using in that meal well at least, that’s what I thought. As soon as Hubby put a piece of pizza to his mouth, his lips started to swell. What? How could this be? Everything was made from scratch. It’s only a pizza! … But right enough, I checked the ingredient list on the back of the packaging and found potato starch as anti-caking agent. Needless to say, I ate a lot of pizza that night… And, just in case you were wondering, yes Hubby is/was fine! His potato allergy is so strong that his body sends him warning signs immediately and this usually keeps him out of harm’s way. Anyway, it just shows how carefully you have to be about these things.

Did you know that manufacturers now put potato starch in their stock cubes? I used to be able to buy Knorr stock cubes but over the years, they have been adding potato starch to their recipe, obviously a cheaper alternative to bulk up their stock. Now, I have to turn to organic stock cubes which are still clear of potato starch. Nowadays, I just like to make my own stock and store it in the freezer.

Are you allergic to potatoes? Do you know anyone allergic to potatoes? Did you even know that people could be allergic to potatoes? Guess what my favourite meal is at the pub? Jacket potato with melted cheese and coleslaw. Yummmmm :-)

High blood pressure - This is another little tricky problem I have to deal with when cooking but I know that the right diet can cure it. You don’t need to take medicine to treat high blood pressure. Although, if you do have very high blood pressure, you should go and see your doctor PDQ(*), if you have not done it yet. I cannot give you advice because I am not qualified to do so but what I can say is that you need to change your diet. You need to lose weight, eat less salt, red meat, processed meat, alcohol and saturated fats. And you must eat more white meat, fish, raw fruit and raw vegetables and do more exercise. It sounds really taxing but it does not have to be. Your body is only telling you that you are overinduldging. Please do not think that I am preaching. We certainly have not found the right balance ourselves here. I am still learning how to adapt my cooking to our ageing bodies as well as accept the fact that Hubby will complain every single meal about the lack of salt in his diner…

I know that you should eat like a king in the morning, a prince at lunch and a pauper at night. But this is just not possible… not for us anyway.

(*) – Pretty Dawn Quick